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Oct 272014
Premier League

West Ham 2 – 1 Manchester City

Fortune hides from the Champions as they get beat at Upton Park. They were trying to recover from a disappointing mid-week trip to Moscow where they drew their UEFA Champions’ League match in an empty stadium. They had done so well last week in their domination of Spurs, the results from their last two matches is really surprising and disappointing. They should have opened the scoring in the first minute of the match when Sergio Aguero’s shot from distance was saved by Hammers’ keeper Adrian. Aguero had another chance in the 13th minute, but his shot from an Eliamquim Mangala pass missed the goal off to the left. The Hammers took confidence from Citeh’s failure to score and nearly scored themselves in the 18th minute when striker Enner Valencia’s shot was saved by Citeh keeper Joe Hart. The Hammers would score in the 20th minute when Valencia received a great through ball and was able to hit a cut-back pass that Morgan Amalfitano was able to tap into the bottom left corner of the goal. That goal held up for the remainder of the first half as Citeh just couldn’t get anything on goal. The Hammers were able to pack their defense into their own half and never allowed Citeh any time to put anything together. Citeh boss Manuel Pelligrini tried to shake things up a bit by replacing striker Edin Dzeko with Stevan Jovetic in the 58th minute. The move seemed to open things up a bit and Aguero nearly scored in the 59th minute. But his shot from a David Silva assist was saved by keeper Adrian. Aguero had another chance in the 64th minute, but his shot hit the bar and keeper Adrian was able to save the rebound from Yaya Toure. Toure hit the bar himself in the 73rd minute with his shot from a Silva assist. Those misses would be regretted by the visitors in the 74th minute. Aaron Cresswell hit a cross that Diafra Sakho was able to head into the bottom right corner of the net for the Hammers’ second goal. Silva was able to get a goal back for the Champions in the 77th minute with a left footed shot of a Jesus Navas assist. But they just couldn’t find anything more. Not even a stoppage time shot from Jovetic had any effect as it was saved by keeper Adrian.

Liverpool 0 – 0 Hull City

Mario Balotelli fails to score again as the Reds draw versus the Tigers at Anfield. One has to feel some sympathy for Balotelli. When he left Inter Milan to join Liverpool this summer, he was expected to take on the same role that Luis Suarez played before he left for Barcelona. For the first couple of matches, the Italian striker did really well. He worked well with Daniel Sturridge and with Rhaheem Sterling and the trio made a wonderful attack for the Reds. But ever since Sturridge went down with a leg injury back in September, Balotelli hasn’t been able to do anything positive for his team. Such was the case on Saturday. His first attempt on goal was saved by Tigers’ keeper NAME. He spent the rest of the first half standing around doing nothing or kicking opposing defenders. He was finally booked in the 56th minute for throwing an elbow into the face of Tigers’ defender Alex Bruce. In the meantime, Sterling and captain Steven Gerrard kept trying to get the team going and were getting frustrated with Balotelli’s lack of pace. Philippe Coutinho nearly scored for the Reds in the 85th minute when his header of a Gerrard cross narrowly missed the top left corner of the goal. But the closest the Reds would come would be deep into stoppage time when Balotelli missed a sure goal opportunity when he put a close range shot over the bar. As the final whistle blew, he looked really lost. One wonders if even Gerrard can save him.

Southampton 1 – 0 Stoke

The Saints beat the Potters and retake second place in the BPL. Boss Ronald Koeman won manager of the month in September. Given all the changes the Saints went through and their success so far this season, he has truly earned that award. The main thing that Koeman teams work on is their defending and Saturday was no exception. The held the Potters in a death grip that strangled any attempts on goal. Sadio Mane got the match’s only goal in the 33rd minute when he hit a free-kick into the top right corner of the Potters’ goal. The closest the Potters would come anywhere near the Saints’ goal would be in the 74th minute when Steven N’Zonzi hit a through-pass for Mame Biram Diouf, but the striker was offside. So the Saints keep on marching. Could it be into a European place?

Sunderland 0 – 2 Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez gets a brace to lift the Gunners to victory over the Blackcats. This was a match that Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger was keen for his to win. They were without a win in their last two matches and fans were starting to get a bit worried. They nearly went behind to an early first minute header from Jack Rodwell. The midfielder’s header from a William Buckley cross just missed the goal off to the right. In the 12th minute, John O’Shea had a chance to score when he got on the end of a Wes Brown headed pass. However, the Blackcats’ captain had his attempt blocked by the Gunners’ defense. Their first attempt on goal came from Danny Welbeck. But his shot from a Santiago Cazorla pass was way over the bar. But just when it looked like no one would be able to put any quality chance on goal, Sanchez scored in the 29th minute. He hit a great shot from distance into the bottom right corner of the net past Blackcats’ keeper Vito Mannone. That goal seemed to kick the visitors into gear and they had another chance by Calum Chambers saved by keeper Mannone. Jack Rodwell almost scored for the Blackcats when his 52nd minute header of a Sebastian Larsson cross was saved by Gunners’ keeper Wojciech Szczesny. Larsson had a chance himself in the 65th minute when he was set up by Lee Cattermole. But Szczesny was more than equal to the shot to hold the home side scoreless. In desperation, boss Gus Poyet brought on Jozy Altidore for Adam Johnson. The USA International striker nearly score in the 75th minute, but his header from a Patrick van Aanholt cross was saved by keeper Szczesny. Sanchez finally secured the win for the Gunners in stoppage time when poked home a loose ball from a Cazorla shot that the Blackcats’ defense failed to clear. So it looks like Sunderland will be involved in another relegation fight this season as this result drops them into the bottom three.

West Bromwich Albion 2 – 2 Crystal Palace

An injury-time penalty kick score from Saido Berahino rescues the draw for the Baggies. This was a match that Palace threw away. They had started out so well, having scored the opening goal in the 15th minute when Brede Hangeland slotted home a corner kick into the bottom right corner of the net. They even managed to increase their lead in first half stoppage time when Baggies midfielder Graham Dorrans was penalized for fouling Palace midfielder Yannick Bolasie in the Baggies’ penalty area. Mile Jedinak converted the spot kick and as the teams went off for the half-time interval, it looked like Palace had this one in the bag. But anyone who has followed this game knows that a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead and the hardest to hold. This match demonstrated that fact in the 50th minute. Striker Victor Anichebe, who had come on as a substitute for Stephane Sessegnon, scored for the Baggies when he headed in Chris Brunt’s corner kick. They should have levelled the score in the 61st minute, but Dorrans’ shot from a Craig Gardner free-kick was just over the bar. To their credit, Palace tried to bear down and hold on for the win. They nearly sealed the victory in the 87th minute when Adlene Guedioura’s shot from a Jason Puncheon assist was saved by Baggies’ keeper Ben Foster. That save and a bit of luck in stoppage time got the draw for the home side. They were awarded a penalty kick when Jedinak was penalized for fouling Anichebe in the Palace penalty area. Berahino converted the spot kick and The Hawthorns cheered with relief.

Swansea 2 – 0 Leicester City

A Wilfried Bony double gives the Swans the victory over the Foxes. It was the Welsh side’s first BPL win in their last six attempts. After starting the season so well, including a win against Manchester United at Old Trafford, the Swans had hit a bit of a slump prior to the Foxes’ visit. The visitors were on a slide of their own. One of the newly promoted side’s weaknesses has been in their defense and it was exposed in the 34th minute when Bony score from a Gylfi Sigurdson assist. Bony should have scored number two in the 54th minute when he tried to curl a left-footed shot from distance that missed off to the left of the goal. The Foxes had a chance in the 55th minute when midfielder Daniel Drinkwater’s shot from a Riyad Mahrez assist was saved by Swans keeper Lukasz Fabianski. Bony would get his second in the 57th minute when his shot from a Jefferson Montero assist found the bottom left corner of the goal. That would be all the Swans would need for the win. Although Andy King had a chance to get a goal back for the Foxes in 90th minute, his header of a Leonardo Ulloa cross was saved by keeper Fabianski. So the Swans got a much needed win and move up to sixth place in the BPL table.

Burnley 1 – 3 Everton

Samuel Eto’o scores two as the Toffees have an easy time at Turf Moor. This one was over with pretty quick. Eto’o got things started in the third minute when he headed in a Leighton Baines cross for the first goal. Burnley made things a bit interesting in the 20th minute when Danny Ings equalized from a Lukas Jutkiewicz through-pass. But the Toffees retook the lead in the 28th minute when Romelu Lukaku as set up by Steven Naismith. Although his first attempt was blocked, he was able to knock the rebound into the bottom left corner of the goal. The visitors pretty much coasted from there and Eto’o got his second and Everton’s third in the 85th minute when he curled in a shot from a Steven Pienaar assist into the top right corner of the goal. Poor Burnley are in way over their head and they now occupy the bottom spot of the BPL table. Enjoy the top flight as long as it last as you’re headed back down to the Championship.

Tottenham 1 – 2 Newcastle

The Magpies get their first away win of the season and climb out of the bottom three. I would bet that boss Alan Pardew is feeling a bit more relaxed after Sunday’s match. It didn’t start out that well for his side as they fell behind to a 17th minute Emmanuel Adebayor headed goal from a Ryan Mason cross. But the one thing the Magpies are not doing this season is quitting. They nearly equalized in the 30th minute, but Gabriel Obertan’s shot from distance missed the goal off to the left. Spurs had a couple of chances to get their second goal. The closest came in the 43rd minute when Nacer Chadli missed his shot from a Christian Eriksen free-kick. Pardew made a chance at the beginning of the second half when he replaced Obertan with Sammy Ameobi. It was a genius move as Ameobi scored right as the second half got started. Midfielder Jack Colback set up Ameobi and he scored the equalizer into the bottom right corner of the goal. The Magpies took the lead in the 57th minute when Ayoze Perez headed a Remy Cabella cross into the bottom right corner of the goal. Spurs tried to equalize in the 66th minute but Eriksen’s shot from an Adebayor assist was blocked by the Magpies’ defense. Magpies’ keeper Tim Krul came up big in the 69th minute when he saved a Harry Kane shot that was heading for the roof of the net. That was as close as the home side would get as they just couldn’t conjure any quality chances. The result has a lot of Spurs fans quite angry as they sit in 11th place in the table.

Manchester United 1 – 1 Chelsea

Robin Van Persie scores a late stoppage time goal to salvage a draw for the Red Devils. There was a lot of apprehension amongst United supporters at Old Trafford on Sunday. The Blues haven’t lost a match this season and are destined to win the BPL with no trouble at all. The one weapon the Blues were missing was top scorer Diego Costa who is out with a hamstring injury that may require surgery. But they had their old hero Didier Drogba to step in for the Spanish striker. The other thing the Blues have in their favor is their rock solid defense which held the United attack at bay for so much of the match. There have been many questions about the United defense and there have been several injuries to key players like Johnny Evans. So it was a surprise and a relief, especially in the Stratford End when the first half ended goalless. Both Blues boss Jose Mourinho and United boss Louis Van Gaal each know that the other would make whatever adjustments would be needed for the win. However, it was the Blues were nearly took the lead when Eden Hazard broke through on goal from a Drogba assist in the 52nd minute. But United keeper David De Gea was able to push Hazard’s shot aside for the corner kick. That’s when the Blues would finally make their breakthrough. Drogba would out-jump United defender Rafael to head in Cesc Fabregas’ corner-kick. The Blues nearly made it two in the 59th minute when Willian was put through on goal by Filipe Luis. Keeper De Gea was able to come up big again to make a really great save to keep the score at 0-1. In the 64th minute United won a free-kick in the Blue’s defensive third when Branislav Ivanoc was penalized and booked for a foul on midfielder Angel Di Maria. The Blues were able to successfully defend the free kick to maintain their lead. And so the match went. The Blues were able to turn away each attempt by United and it looked like Mourinho was going to get the victory over his mentor Van Gaal. But deep into stoppage time, Ivanovic was penalized for fouling Di Maria in the Blues’ defending third. The referee sent Ivanovic off for a second bookable offense. Di Maria took the free-kick that was initially headed by Marouane Fellaini and saved by Blues keeper Thibaut Courtois. But the Blues defense couldn’t clear the rebound and Van Persie was able to knock-in the loose ball for the equalizer. While the result doesn’t change anything on the BPL table, there is a much better feeling about things amongst United supporters as the Manchester Derby approaches.

Queens Park Rangers 2 – 0 Aston Villa

QPR stun the Villains at Loftus Road to get themselves off the bottom of the table. Many folks were considering this match a make-or-break for QPR boss Harry Redknapp. They had only one win coming into this match and things were not too good amongst the QPR faithful after their loss to Liverpool last week. The Villains weren’t doing much better having lost their last four matches coming into the match on Monday. Their main weakness has been their defense and it got exploited by QPR in the 16th minute when striker Charlie Austin hit a shot from distance and the ball sneaked into the bottom left corner of the goal past Villains’ keeper Brad Guzan. Villains’ striker Christian Benteke tried to get his side back into the match, but his 20th minute shot missed the goal off to the left and his 22nd minute shot was blocked by the QPR defense. QPR keeper Robert Green did well in this match. He came up big in the 30th minute when he made a great save from Villains’ midfielder Andreas Weimann’s header from an Aly Cissokho cross. Keeper Green came up big again in the 38th minute when he saved Benteke’s shot from a Weimann assist. And so it would go for the Villains. They just couldn’t beat Green and Austin scored the second goal for QPR in the 68th minute when he put an Eduardo Vargas assist into the bottom right corner for the net. After that it was all about keeper Green and he was able to keep the cleansheet as he turned away shot after shot from the Villains. While the result doesn’t lift QPR out of the bottom three, it could be the start of them saving their season. We shall see.

Lanny Short

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